Thursday, 5/22/08 Day 110
We did school in the morning and went snorkeling around 10:30am on the long string of patch reefs off the Double-Breasted Cays. For the whole time we were out, Dad was spearfishing. He had Mom stay in the dinghy so she could follow him and he could get his fish in the dinghy quickly, and he made us snorkel away from him, so as not to disturb the fish. We played a game where we were pretending to spearfish, and once we were "stalking" a grouper that Dad actually shot when we ran into him on accident and pointed it out to him. He ended up shooting one big Hogfish (one of our favorite fish to eat on the reef), two smaller Hogfish, one Atlantic Spadefish, one Mahogany Snapper, and a Red Hind.
There wasn't much coral, and the water was murky, but we saw lots of little fish and even a Hawkbill Sea Turtle! Towards the end, Mom expressed how she wanted to snorkel too, so she and bro swam, while I controlled the dinghy. I had to motor around and get fish from Dad if he got any and pick up anybody who needed the dink. Once, Mom wanted to stop snorkeling, but at the same time, Dad speared a Hogfish. I went to pick him up first, but the fish got off, so I went to get Mom. But then Dad got a Spadefish, and I went to get the fish instead. This time, however, I got the fish and Mom! It was super fun. We trolled a fishing line on our way back to the boat and caught a small Bar Jack to add to our catch for the day. When Daddy squeezed the jack to get the hook out, it went "Bheeaaahh." We all laughed (except Mom). We also stopped and picked up 2 Queen Conch to add to the conch salad.
We got back around 3:30pm, more than 4 hours after we went out. We met Jeff from m/v Jonny Wasabi who, it turns out, is friends with our good friends Damon and David on s/v Bruadair (from our first cruise in 2005). He also spent time on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala and not only knows some of the same people we do, but also had a dinghy cover made by Ronnie, just like us. It's a small, small world.
After a delicious meal of Hogfish and Grouper (the Hogfish was still better), Mr. Richard and Ms. Susan from m/v Horsefeathers came over for a drink. They brought the movie Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and popcorn for Josh and me. The movie was awesome, probably one of my favorites! Who cards that I'm copying Josh? I am happy!!!
Friday, 5/23/08 Day 111
Today was great! We started our day by going snorkeling (with a bit of spearfishing like always) on the big barrier reef that is 3 miles off of the Double-Breasted Cays at around 9:30am. It took a long time for us to find it, but when we did, it was obvious. The reef was beautiful, and the drop-off into the Atlantic Ocean was packed with fish and coral. I saw lots of new fish, including a Spotted Goby, Queen Angelfish, Townsend Angelfish (hybrid Blue & Queen Angelfish), Saucereye Porgy, Emerald Parrotfish, and a Coney with the bicolor variation (red, blue or black on top, white on bottom). For a full account of everything I saw, wee my Dive Log. Dad spear a decent sized Red Grouper, but that was all.
A big storm with lightning was coming, so we raced back. About halfway in, we hit a wall of cold air. It blew super cold all the way home. Back at the boat, we played downstairs and did some school until the storm passed. Then, we bleached shells and played more.
Later, Mom and I went on a dinghy trip to go take more pictures of the Bridled Terns. I got to drive most of the time. Mom took some great shots. On the way back, we talked with m/v Homer and m/v Horsefeathers. Mr. Richard showed us his slingshot and gave it to us to let Daddy try it. They also lent us the movie Turner & Hooch. We returned to the boat just in time for dinner and are now getting ready for bed. As I said before, today was great!!
Saturday, 5/24/08 Day 112
Today would be rated somewhere between good and great. Before we went spearfishing with Jeff on m/v Jonny Wasabi, we jumped in the dinghy and ran to Grand Cay, 3 miles away, to get gasoline for the dinghy outboard, throw away trash, and get bread for us and Mr. Richard and Ms. Susan. The part of the tiny town by the fuel dock and "marina" and the surrounding areas were the only placed I went. The thing that I remember most was the filth. It seemed to be dirty everywhere. (I didn't go inside any place, but that's how it was outside.)
We went spearfishing with Mr. Jeff as soon as we got back. Mom didn't come. Since we went with Mr. Jeff, Dad did things Mr. Jeff's way, which allowed us to spot, point out, track and search for fish, as well as help swim around coral heads to move fish towards a spearer. Mr. Jeff got the only fish - a Hogfish and a Nassau Grouper. We stopped after Josh and I saw 2 Spinner Sharks (at different times).
I had fun. I saw two things that I'd never seen before - a Midnight Parrotfish and a 3 foot long Yellow Jack that scared away every small fish around.
Later, on Liberty, we did school while a squall (see 4/6/08 for a definition) passed, then went to the beach along with m/v Horsefeathers and m/v Jonny Wasabi. Josh and I built sandcastles and even found a really cool Flame Box Crab. Josh also met and played with a boy from a little fishing boat that had pulled up to the beach for the afternoon, while I looked for sand dollars with Mom.
M/V Horsefeathers took us home and we watched Turner & Hooch, a movie that Mr. Richard and Ms. Susan lent to us. Now, I'm tired and it's late. Hasta mañana journal.
Sunday, 5/25/08 Day 113
Today was good because there wasn't enough to make it great. We started the day by having omelets with bacon on the side for breakfast. It was yummy. I ate everybody's leftovers when they were done. Mom, Dad, and Josh also thought that the bacon was much too salty, so I got some extra of that as well. We did school and played until linner.
Dad made his new Enchilada Pie recipe for linner around 3:00. We invited Mr. Richard and Ms. Susan over because Dad made too much for just us. They brought a tape of their son Ryan swimming in the Olympics. They won! That was cool. Mom and Dad wanted to give Mr. Richard his slingshot back, so the 3 Gohlke boys got to try it out. I shot farther than Josh or Dad! To make it better, both of my shots went farther than any of Dad's 3!!
After linner, Mom, Josh, and I went to the beach with Mr. Richard and Ms. Susan. We brought a baseball and baseball bat and played with Spirit. We had fun. When we got back, it was kind of late in the evening, so we had a snack of chocolate-pudding fruit. We got this fruit from Manjack Cay. When it gets soft, you scoop out the fruit from the skin, mix it with cream and sugar, and eat the chocolate-tasting "pudding". It tasted like a healthier, but not exact, alternative to real chocolate pudding. Here's what I have to say: If you're skinny, eat the real stuff! That's all for today!!
Monday, 5/26/08 Day 114
Today was kind of boring. We did school and made and flew paper airplanes all day. Josh and I got in a fight over "the destruction of each others' planes at the hands of the other," and I was punished by being confined to my room until tomorrow morning. I am writing this entry at 6:35pm for lack of anything else to do. I am taking advantage of the fact that Dad (our family's prime punisher) placed no restrictions on what I can do while in my room. It will be a long, long, night.
Tuesday, 5/27/08 Day 115
Today was great! We started the day by going dinghy exploring around Bird Cay and then finding a place to move the boat later this afternoon to make it easier to leave tomorrow morning when the tide will be low. We decided to move it out near where the 3 mini-mega yachts were anchored on 5/18/08. Then we went to the beach with m/v Horsefeathers. Josh and I played baseball with Dad most of the time. Josh batted and Dad pitched. I caught almost every pitch.
It started to rain, so we went back to the boat, made and flew more paper airplanes, and did school. Later, Mr. Richard called and asked if Josh and I wanted to go to Grand Cay on their fast fishing boat, m/v Horsefeathers. We went with them and I helped Mr. Richard pull in their two anchors. Then we went up to the bridge deck, two levels up, to steer the boat. We planed at around 22 kts! It was awesome! It felt like driving the boat from our mast! The wind in our faces felt refreshing. We quickly arrived at Grand Cay and fueled up. They got 80 gallons of diesel and it cost over $400! We also took Spirit for a walk and bought bread at the bakery. Then we planed home.
We got back to the boat (s/v Liberty) at around 4:00pm. We finished getting the boat ready for the passage we start tomorrow to Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, and raised our anchors to move to the new spot we chose this morning. We were re-anchored by 5:00pm. We were going to go to the beach once more with m/v Horsefeathers, but that plan fell apart. We've turned in fairly early and are just reading and such until we go to sleep. I've had a great time here in the Abacos!!
Wednesday, 5/28/08 Day 116
By the time I woke up (before 6:30), we were sailing away from the Double-Breasted Cays and the Abacos. We had a nice long sail with great winds and waves. We sailed over the White Sand Ridge to look for the friendly Atlantic Spotted dolphins that you can swim with. Unfortunately, the only dolphins we saw the whole day were two small groups of Bottlenose dolphins earlier in the day.
In the evening, we were trolling four lines: two poles and two hand-lines. We had a really big fish on the line that was flipping around and looked like a shark or billfish. It was our first ever billfish!! It was an approx. 5ft. long Sailfish that we brought all the way to the side of the boat. Unfortunately, just as Dad was trying to gaff it, it gave one last pull and broke free. It was so awesome! I hope we catch more fish!
That was all that happened today. I'll stay up with Mom on her watch. Today was great!!
The Night of 5/28/08
I stayed up with Mom on her watch like usual. I read my book a lot. Then we looked at pictures for the website. It's too bad, though, that by 10:30pm, I was super tired and falling asleep. I went to bed soon after. This will be the only night on this passage.
Thursday, 5/29/08 Day 117
I woke up to a quiet boat, even though everybody was up. Then, Mom went to sleep and two cool things happened. First, we caught a 31" Spanish Mackerel. I took a picture and we quickly made it into steaks. The second cool thing was that there were tons of big pink jellyfish with long red tentacles and a red spot on top of the "body." We couldn't identify them. By the time Mommy got up and we tried to show her, they were all gone.
I spotted land at 8:29am and we motored in to Port Canaveral. Port Canaveral is a busy port. There were sailboats like us, fishing/power boats, cruise ships, ocean liners, and casino boats. We stopped at the Cape Marina to refuel and walked ½ hour to the customs office to check in to the country which took only 5 boring minutes of waiting and then we walked ½ back. We also signed up for a week of internet and I got 4 emails.
From Port Canaveral, we went through one bridge and one set of locks. Then we had to anchor for a couple of hours outside the Port Canaveral Barge Canal because a bridge in the canal was closed from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.
Later, we went through the Port Canaveral Barge Canal. It reminded me of going up the Rio Dulce in Guatemala in 2005 on our last cruise. It was all forest on each side. We saw lots of wildlife, including half a dozen Anhinga (a bird I have only seen once before!), a flock of Roseate Spoonbills, plus numerous other herons, egrets, pelicans, cormorants, and vultures. As mammals are concerned, we saw four West Indian Manatees, a raccoon, and even an otter!! I love the manatees!
We went through the bridge and anchored in the Indian River, south of Titusville, FL, our destination, because we wouldn't make it before dark if we continued. I was a bit grumpy after dinner because Mom and Dad wouldn't let me work on something on the computer because they were tired. They wanted us to be tired just because they were. It's crazy! They made me do this instead. Anyway, today was mostly great.
Friday, 5/30/08 Day 118
Today was a good day. Just after we all got up and ate breakfast and were getting ready to get underway, there was a West Indian Manatee right by our boat. We could see him and are pretty sure he could see us. In fact, we think he was checking us out. He kept holding his head up out of the water every few seconds and turning towards us. He could have held his breath for a really long time, instead of coming up so frequently. Eventually, he dove and we didn't see him again. (The water here is not clear at all.)
In a couple of hours, we were anchored outside Titusville, FL. The love bugs mobbed our boat. They are everywhere. You have to be careful not to step on them, so as not to squash them on your feet. We cleaned up the boat because we were going to meet Dorine Olive and her 12 yr. old son Derek.
Our plans with Ms. Dorine and Derek changed several times. Ms. Dorine was a good sport about the wet dinghy ride back to our boat. We showed them our boat and the adults had a glass of wine while Josh and I introduced Derek to paper wasps. Then we all piled back into the dinghy and went to Dixie Crossroads for dinner. At the dinghy dock, we saw two manatees. We pet them and a guy told us to spray them with a hose because they love the fresh water. That was cool. In one day, I have seen more manatees than back home in a year.
After dinner, Ms. Dorine dropped us off at a Save-a-Lot grocery store and we did some quick shopping before walking back to the dinghy dock. Now we are all tired. Tomorrow should be a better day because of the shuttle launch.
Saturday, 5/31/08 Day 119
Today we witnessed the awesome thing that we came to Titusville, FL to see. It was the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery!!
In the morning, we did school, and in the afternoon, we played cards, read books, worked on the website, etc. to pass the time. Dad also put up the hammock for us to lie in.
At around 4:30pm, we stopped what we were doing and started listening to a radio station that broadcasted news about the launch. We could see tons of people lining the bridge near by, sitting in parks and open areas, standing on piers, and anchored out in little power boats to see the launch. By 4:55pm we were all on deck with the camera and video camera, waiting for the launch. There are two launch platforms, and we thought it would take off from the north platform. Because of that, I almost missed it. Finally, at 5:02pm, like scheduled, the Space Shuttle Discovery took off. It shot up, leaving a huge trail of white smoke. The fire coming off the engines was at least twice as big as the shuttle itself. It was all faster than I expected. It quickly disappeared to a tiny speck. Dave got a great movie, and Mom got just as good pictures. It was one of the most awesome things I've seen on this trip, and probably in my life!!!
That's really all that happened today. We didn't even so much as get in the dinghy. The weather was hot and windless, but we survived through 5:02pm and the shuttle launch. Today was most definitely super great!!